Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has welcomed the announcement by American Airlines that it will be commencing a new service to the Ian Fleming International Airport (OCJ) in Boscobel, St. Mary on February 24, 2024.
Minister Bartlett expressed his enthusiasm in response to the announcement, stating: “We are delighted with American Airlines’ decision to introduce this new route which will serve the Ocho Rios resort area and its environs. It marks a significant milestone in Jamaica’s ongoing journey to strengthen its position as the region’s premiere tourist destination.”
“The introduction of this route is also a positive one for our stakeholders in St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland as it will greatly enhance the accessibility to the island’s northeast corridor, making it more convenient for travellers to explore the wonders of popular resort areas like Ocho Rios,” he noted.
The decision by American Airlines to add this new route reflects the increasing demand for Jamaica’s tourism products and offerings. As post-pandemic travellers seek real and authentic experiences, Jamaica has emerged as a top choice. Minister Bartlett expressed his appreciation for the growth in Jamaica’s popularity among key tourism partners, such as American Airlines, and eagerly anticipates further discussions about additional seats and routes.
“We eagerly await the inflow of visitors via this new route and look forward to witnessing the continuous growth of this service,” stated Minister Bartlett. “We are confident that the route to Ocho Rios will expand in the near future,” he added.
The new service to Ocho Rios will operate twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, utilizing an Embraer 175 aircraft with a capacity for 76 passengers. Travellers will benefit from convenient connectivity with American Airlines’ hub at Miami International Airport (MIA).
By introducing this new route, American Airlines further solidifies its position as the leading airline in Jamaica, operating over 100 weekly flights to the United States during the winter season. The airline’s extensive schedule includes services to Kingston (KIN) from Miami (MIA) and to Montego Bay (MBJ) from multiple destinations such as Austin (AUS), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Charlotte (CLT), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), New York (JFK), and Philadelphia (PHL).
“After more than 45 years of service, we are excited to continue expanding our Jamaica flying with new service to Ocho Rios, becoming the first U.S. airline to offer access to this Caribbean paradise,” said José A. Freig, American Airlines Vice President for International Operations.
Minister Bartlett commended American Airlines for its strategic move, emphasising its significance in fostering affordable air connectivity between Jamaica and both traditional and non-traditional source markets. This initiative aligns with ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Tourism, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), and various travel partners to enhance accessibility to Jamaica.
It was noted that American Airlines’ decision to introduce its third destination in Jamaica underscores its dedication to strengthening its presence in the region. Minister Bartlett lauded this expansion, outlining that: “This move by American Airlines complements the airline’s robust schedule in the country, providing visitors with a variety of options to explore our diverse attractions and experience our rich culture.”